Empire State Development commissioner calls comptroller's report 'flawed'

Feb 10, 2015
Originally published on February 10, 2015 7:15 am

The head of New York state’s economic development agency says a recent report questioning its success is flawed.

In his testimony to a state Legislature budget hearing, outgoing Empire State Development Corporation Commissioner Kenneth Adams said the comptroller’s report on his agency is misleading.

Last week, the state comptroller’s office said Empire State Development offered little public information about its subsidiaries and the success of its economic growth programs. The report says in 2013, the agency only created 2,42 jobs and had billions in debt.

Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said in a statement, "New York state spends hundreds of millions of dollars each year to spur economic development and job creation through ESDC programs. New Yorkers deserve more thorough accounting about whether these programs are achieving desired results."

But Adams says the comptroller’s report only offers a partial view of ESDC. "As if you wanted to sort of judge the performance of a car, looking in the trunk or the glove compartment, instead of under the hood. It misses the story," he said to lawmakers.

Empire State Development runs the Regional Economic Development Council awards program, the Startup- NY tax incentives and issues other tax breaks to spur business expansion and job growth.

Adams says the critical figures the comptroller used to determine his agency’s job creation didn’t count tax credit programs.

"Well, our largest economic development tools are tax credits. So the jobs they have incentivized aren’t counted in the report," Adams said.

He says the jobs created and sustained are much larger, around 14,000.

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